Lucy was my dog for twelve years. Today was her birthday. We lost her just over a year ago around Christmas of 2011. She'd been sick for about a week, after seizures from brain cancer, when we finally had to say goodbye to her on a Thursday. I'd known I'd lose her someday and had tried to prepare, but when it came, it was so much harder than I'd imagined. She'd been with me almost every day - a constant in a decade of change. I was never alone and my house was never empty.
Today, I got on the streetcar and walked to the very back. I was on my phone, so wasn't paying much attention to the world around me. When I hung up my call though, I looked down toward my feet and there was a Boston Terrier, almost exactly Lucy's size, sitting beside his owner.
"Can I say hi," I asked the girl who was holding his leash.
"Sure you can," she said. "This is Titus."
I leaned over and rubbed the back and side of his neck. He stood on his hind legs to get closer and looked at me with familiar eyes. Boston Terriers are all built the same way - little balls of muscle - so it's no wonder that they behave, act, fidget so similarly to each other. Titus wasn't Lucy, but for a very brief moment, I let him be. I told him what a good baby he was and kissed the top of his head, before thanking his owner and getting off the streetcar - a brief and personal few moments, for a very special day.